Archive for the ‘It’s the 3 Little Things’ Category

It’s the 3 Little Things

Friday, May 11th, 2018

Rent the Runway

It’s Fri-yay and a perfect time to share a quick recap before I pack my bags and leave again.

I know, I know!

These past two months have been bonkers and I’m so grateful for every minute of it.

If you recall, I was in Pasadena for the Mom 2.0 Summit last week.  As always, the conference was an absolute glam-fest and full of incredible speakers. Kristen Bell and Brené Brown were both as fantastic, dynamic, and real as I had hoped they would be. I also walked away with a lot of notes about how to manage this corner of the internet better.

Even after fourteen years, I continue to be a work in progress.

For me, it is all about being with my friends and many, that I had not seen in five years or more (!!!),  ended up attending this conference. It was so fun to be reunited again!

Being nominated for an Iris Award for Best Mom Blog was such an honor. Although I did not win, I am proud to have written the content I did and for the community I have worked so hard to cultivate here.

Taye Diggs

I timed my bathroom break, after the show, perfectly too! Taye Diggs, our host for the evening’s event, happened to be in the lobby while I was walking through. It was such an honor to meet him. I am also happy to report that he was just as I had hoped he would be. He’s got those Midwest manners down and graciously took a picture with me.

How awesome is that?

My frocks were courtesy of Rent the Runway and I only had to stuff two of these in the top to make it work. Hahaha! #bodygoals

By the way, I noticed that RTR is running a special for Memorial Day weekend. Rent 1, Get 2 free for your festivities. A common misconception is that they only offer ballgowns. They actually offer lots of cute everyday dresses and apparel too. If you have anything fun happening that weekend (and haven’t used their services before), here is $30 credit too to put towards your purchase.

Costco

Where am I headed next?

My Mother’s Day gift is renting a Lake Michigan home with my childhood bestie for the weekend.

We plan to do NOTHING for ANYONE and we are so excited.

I am a newbie to Costco (tell me your tips!!) and noticed these premade meals would be perfect so neither of us has to cook.

Plans include sitting in a hot tub, moving to the couch, drinking wine, maybe switching couches, sleeping in, and not getting dressed. After that? Maybe move to a chair.

Doesn’t that sound like a great Mother’s Day gift?

I think so.

Here are 3 other things making me happy this week…

Genius Caffeine

Genius Caffeine

I shared with you that I found out I have silent reflux and that has meant modifying my diet a bit. I find that coffee, sadly, has been a big contributor to my symptoms. I really need a pick-me-up in the morning though so I started researching supplement options.

For the last month, I have been using something called Genius Caffeine and I can’t tell you how much it has improved my mental clarity, reduced my caffeine jitters, and even helped me to sleep better than I was before.

Genius Caffeine pills offer the equivalent caffeine of a standard cup of coffee (100 mg. per tablet).  Since I was drinking a pot a day, I wondered if I would feel hungover switching to this supplement option.  Lo and behold, I had no troubles at all switching and I feel clearer mentally than I have in a long time.

The difference between this and the coffee is that it is an extended release tablet. Basically, I would have that UP and then DOWN and then UP with coffee. That’s why I kept drinking it. I kept craving the UP.

With these, the tablet releases the caffeine slowly so you never have those highs and lows that come with coffee drinking.  I’m pretty sure I have ADHD, as it runs in my family,  so this has helped me with sustaining focus. I pair it with this supplement to help treat the ADHD symptoms naturally.  (PS- if you have a child with ADHD, please read my series on the diagnosis and treatment process we went through with our son- part one, part two, part three)

I can’t say enough good things if you are trying to ditch the coffee-pot-a-day habit too.

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

Meeting Katherine Center

The book I chose for last week’s flight was, How to Walk Away by Katherine Centers. I devoured the entire book on my flight and just could not put it down. It’s one of those books that you just want to pass on to a girlfriend after you finish it.

In case you missed my April book reviews, I shared that if you are a Me Before You fan, you wouldn’t want to miss this gorgeous summer read.

In this story, you must imagine that you are terrified of flying and, just as you always suspected, you are in a tragic accident. This is exactly what unfolds from the opening chapters of How to Walk Away, and the reader is taken along the journey as Kit’s life, as she knows it, is forever changed.

Also, imagine that the person you love walks away from the experience unscathed.

The book centers around the difficult recovery, the surprises of those who step up in tragedies, the sadness around those that walk away, and how to find love again.

I was so proud of myself that I got these reviews up while I was at the conference and just had jotted down my thoughts about how much I had enjoyed the book. I also shared with my roomie that I thought she should pick up this book for her next trip.

In a funny twist of fate, she came upstairs and said, “I’m pretty sure that the author is downstairs signing books right now.”

I ran downstairs and there was Katherine Center signing books and chatting with the conference attendees.

Can you believe my luck?

I will be shocked if we don’t see this book come to the movie theaters and I also told Katherine that I feel that she has a sequel in this story because I would love to see how Kit’s life continues to unfold. Hey, if Jojo Moyes can do it, why can’t she?

Best of all, Katherine will be joining us for a Sundays With Writers. Now that makes me SUPER happy.  Stay tuned!

sidedoor podcast

Sidedoor Podcast

Did you know that the Smithsonian has a podcast series? Our Florida road trip included A LOT of podcasts and we talked about which were our favorites on our way home. Almost everyone loved episodes from the Sidedoor Podcast the most. The premise is that more than 154 million treasures fill the Smithsonian’s vaults, but where public view ends, Sidedoor begins. With the help of biologists, artists, historians, archaeologists, zookeepers, and astrophysicists, host Tony Cohn sneaks listeners through Smithsonian’s side door to search for stories that can’t be found anywhere else.

We listened to several episodes and two that I found the most fascinating were Murder is Her Hobby and A Crane with a Crush.

I guarantee once you start this podcast, you are going to have a hard time stopping. It’s FASCINATING.

Oh, and a few quick things that I don’t want to forget to tell you-

EDS Awareness Month

May is Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month. There are three out of four people in my family that are dealing with this disease and I shared about my initial diagnosis over here. SO MANY people have this and are never treated. Do you have mystery symptoms that you have never gotten an explanation on? Here is my story.

This is what I gave my moms for Mother’s Day.

I’m working on my capsule and snagged a few things off this list.

Wanna know what I plan to put in my earbuds next? This book.

I bought these because they come in a wide width… and they are ten bucks. SOLD!

Looking to expand your reading wish list?  Each week I ask what people are reading and get a couple hundred responses. You can read them too.

Happy Mother’s Day, friends! May you be celebrated in all the ways that your heart desires.

xoxo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

 

 

 

 

It’s the 3 Little Things

Friday, April 27th, 2018

Happy Friday!

How long has it been since I shared a few of my favorite things?

Too long, in my opinion!

It’s been all good things this month and I wanted to catch you up a bit and then share what’s been making me happy this week.

It has been a busy month of fun travel this past month! After visiting the HGTV Smart Home with SimpliSmart, I headed to Florida with the family for our first really long road trip (where we learned about team building- hahaha!), and then I headed to Whistler with the Maven Coalition.

All of these opportunities were made possible, by this amazing supplement that came in just the nick of time.

Next week I’m off again to head to Pasadena for the Mom 2.0 Conference, which was a surprise trip this month.  Typically, our ballet festivities happen around this time of year so I decided to not secure a ticket to the event. The ballet festivities got moved to June though and then this happened…

Iris Awards Nominee

There was an email in my inbox that said, “Congratulations! You were selected and recognized as a 2018 Iris Award nominee for the distinguished Best Mom Blog of the Year Iris Award®, one of the year’s greatest achievements in parenting blogging as determined by your peers and leaders in media, journalism, marketing and the creative arts.”

This is where I promptly bursted into tears with my husband.

How awesome is this?

This was worth packing my suitcase again and I am SO excited to spend some time with my friends and learn how to continue to grow this space.

For you AND for me!

I need to sit down and finish out my no-spend challenge documentation, but decided since this month was so crazy that I would halt my plans to slow down on social media and commit to that in May instead. I’ll share more about that next week, but I am excited to see how it opens my eyes to my habits. I know that the no-spend challenge DEFINITELY opened my eyes A LOT and has been making me way more conscious of my spending habits this month.

Here are 3 other things that are making me happy!

Wild Wild Country Wild Wild Country

If you haven’t dug into the Netflix docu-series, Wild Wild Country yet, you will definitely want to add this to your watchlist. This series explores the controversial story of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), his one-time personal assistant Ma Anand Sheela, and their community of followers in Rajneeshpuram community that resided in Wasco County, Oregon in the ’80’s.

Imagine a sleepy and quiet town that is suddenly taken over by a religious group that no one really understands as they fall at the feet of an Indian guru who rides in on a Rolls Royce and has a red carpet rolled out at his feet.

Unbelievable, right?

The group takes over a huge acreage of land, next to the small town of Antelope, and build a compound where they can live and grow together in their way of life. When the town feels threatened by their presence, actions are taken to protect their community that they have built and many of these actions end up having devastating consequences.

We could not plow through this series quick enough and had lots of discussions since about what it means to be welcoming to people we don’t understand and our own human natures to shy away from anything that we don’t see as, “normal.”

In the current political climate, it fits really well with many of the themes that we have discussed around our dinner table about our love and acceptance of all. That said, this piece really sheds light on a bigger picture issue of the children that were left behind and while elements of this movement made since, many were disturbing as well.

I also found this piece compelling on why people gravitate towards cults and the differences between what defines a cult versus an organized religion.

I could talk about this one all day, but I’ll just say that this one gave us a lot to chew on and I think you might find it compelling too.

Swiftkey source

Swiftkey Keyboard

I am queen of shortcuts these days, especially when it comes to my hands and fingers. I joined a life hacks group for my health challenges, and one of the posters shared about the Swiftkey Keyboard (over here for iPhone) as a great option to help people who struggle with texting and typing on their phones.

Am I the last person on earth to discover how awesome this is?

Basically, you install this keyboard on your phone and it replaces your current keyboard. Instead of pecking at your keys, you can just drag your fingers across the letters to type the words. The keyboard is very intuitive so it gets the hang of your patterns quickly and then it starts predicting your words and where spaces should be.

I’m still getting the hang of the layout, but dragging my fingers versus the tapping I was doing seems to be slightly easier on my joints.

Nuun Electrolytes

Nuun Electrolytes

I am trying to do better about staying hydrated and since I have been traveling a lot, I decided to see if there were any electrolyte options that might travel well. I ran across the Nuun Electrolytes at my local vitamin store and thought I would pack them in my carry-on bag with an empty water bottle.

I have to say, this addition to my travel routine was such a smart one! Most electrolyte drinks have too much sugar in them and I usually have a major crash, thanks to my hypoglycemia. Most sports drinks actually have more sugar in them than two scoops of ice cream (!!!)  which explains why I crash so hard after I drink them.

These tablets have just 1 gram of sugar (you can read more about what’s in them over here) and have made drinking water a little more fun. I have loved the Fruit Punch and Mixed Berry flavors, in particular.

Not only are these great for travel, but I see these as a great hangover remedy too when I know the drinks will be flowing.

***

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, friends!! If you are looking for me, you’ll find me curled up with this book this weekend. Stay tuned for my favorite reads this month-

xoxo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

 

 

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: Amazing Expandable Table, 40th Birthday Fun, & Fiddle Leafing

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Birthday Cupcake

I know these lists typically happen on Fridays, but today I am scooting out to Nashville for a girl’s trip so I thought I’d bring the happy early. Thank you to so many of you for celebrating with me and the generous gifts to the Ehlers-Foundation! I raised $910 and the campaign is open for two more weeks, if you feel inclined to share a small donation in excuse of this special day. It has been such a great way to raise funds for a cause that is dear to our family. Thank you for all the generous gifts and birthday messages! I can admit that I was a weepy mess this week- just so thankful for my people and what God has given us.

Before I start with the happy list, I thought I would share this post with you today (in case you didn’t see it). One thing I’m working on is being more honest about my own journey and that means owning some of the shame that I have struggled with in my life. The response to this (publicly and privately) made me realize how important it is for EVERYONE to hear this.

If this is your struggle, please know that it was mine too. I get SO many emails from people wanting to start things and living in the fear that they don’t have anything to share, the fear of failure, and the fear that their voice doesn’t matter. This post I shared yesterday made me think about the labels we give ourselves, or maybe our family or friends have given us, and the importance of not owning that and creating an identity around it.  That doesn’t have to be your label. It just DOESN’T.

If you are carrying around that weight and shame or paralyzed with a fear of failure, please, please consider counseling! I was anti-counseling for a long time and then I went and I realized the reason I didn’t want to go is because I didn’t want to work on me. It has transformed my path so much to hear some of my own words echoed back to me and to contemplate the why in the labels I carry around.

For those of you that trusted me to share what you are struggling with- thank you! The things I post aren’t because I am so awesome at life, they are because I need to be reminded of these things just as much as you.

Let’s move on…how about some happy?

P.S.- See what made me happy this year and my word for 2018!

Janet Hill Lady Luck Painting

Unreal Birthday Happiness

My husband is definitely upping the game for his gifts for his 40th after his birthday surprises yesterday. The love and thought that went into the gifts was so sweet that I had to share it with you.

40th birthday surprise

 

40th-birthday-gift (5 of 7)

40th-birthday-gift (4 of 7)

40th-birthday-gift (3 of 7)

40th birthday gifts

Did I mention he’s an incredible web designer and we are art junkies? Since we do the want-need-wear-read gifts for the holidays, he wanted to do 4 gifts for my 40th with the same themes. The need was a laptop since mine was on its last leg and a girl has to have that if she wants to write a blog. The wear was the cute necklace that you can sort of see peeking out in the first picture.

The real surprises though just blew me away.

Mary_Poppins_and_Bert_2

It’s no secret that I am obsessed with Mary Poppins. In fact, when we went to Disney and met Mary Poppins, I started bawling.

I know this isn’t the real Mary Poppins, but I love her so much.

I was kind of like this, but a lot less adorable.

That’s why the Read gift was so special…

40th birthday gifts

This is my Mary Poppins book. A first edition that he had been working to secure this year. Not only did he do that, but he watched a ton of YouTube to figure out how to clean it and had it wrapped in the appropriate paper and a box so it won’t fade from the sun. Isn’t this the coolest thing EVER?

Also, this guy. I mean it, he is the real deal. I know I brag about him a lot, but only because it is true.

But, wait, there’s more.

40th-birthday-gift (7 of 7)

I am OBSESSED with Janet Hill. We have seven of her prints in our house and I never get tired of looking at them.

I subscribe to her notifications for original work, but as soon as it is listed, it is gone in about five minutes flat. This is no exaggeration, she is that good and coveted.

This guy actually snagged one of her originals, called Lady Luck, and gifted it to me as my Want.

I repeat, he got one of her paintings before anyone got to it (a nearly impossible feat). 

There is something so different about seeing a real painting versus the prints. I am madly in love with this and that the message around it is about hope and luck for the future. Who could use a little of that this year?

A birthday card from Janet Hill (I mean SERIOUSLY?) was the icing on the cake.

And now I am sweating about his birthday next year because who the heck could top this?

Truly, the most special day ever.

transforming x coffee table review

 

transforming x coffee table

My Transformation Table

I am SO excited to show you my incredibly cool coffee table that I got. First I just want to say that I plan to spray paint the legs when it is warmer because the finish doesn’t match our house, but it will when the paint can actually dry.

I found this table and it is SO amazing that I had to share it with you because it is a small space lover’s dream!
transforming-x-coffee-table-review (8 of 9)

This table can be a coffee table, like I have shown you above, but it is has a handy lever that allows the table to move up and down so it is height adjustable. You can adjust it to any height and then swivel the lever to lock it in place.  The adjustments can all be done one-handed and the lever moves easily.

transforming-x-coffee-table-review (3 of 9)

Here I have pulled it up to show you how it can narrow and adjust to a table for my laptop or, let’s be more honest, a good old-fashioned TV tray.

But that’s not all…

transforming-x-coffee-table-review (4 of 9)

transforming x table transforming x table review

It turns into a DINING TABLE FOR SIX.

We keep a stack of these metal chairs in the corner of our living room for the kids and their friends to play video games. These chairs fit comfortably around the table and now we have two tables for our lower level, giving us seating for ten people in our little space in our family room (!!!). I do a lot of entertaining and love hosting our Thanksgiving meal so now we will have a place for everyone without the hassle of hauling folding tables up and down the steps.

I have learned the beauty in buying really smart small space furniture over the years. This piece is a workhorse in our bathroom, these replaced mirrors on the walls (can’t believe that price because I paid a heck of a lot more!),  stackable chairs are my jam, this helps our small bedrooms gain more storage, and this foldable item is unreal awesome if you don’t want to overhaul your kitchen for an island (be sure to use your coupon!).

I have been wanting this table for a really long time and took the plunge when I saw this incredible price on it PLUS you can use your Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon on it. If you haven’t signed up for their coupons yet, it is worth it. If you use this link, it will help us pay for our table because I didn’t realize we were broke from my birthday (hahaha!)

I know it isn’t the prettiest piece in our house, but I have plans to do a little painting when the weather warms up. For now, it is just perfect as is and is already being used for date nights at home, board game nights, tackling work, and I look forward to entertaining my friends around it!

fiddle leaf fig

Unlocking Highest Hipster Levels (With Plants)

Say hello to my first Fiddle Leaf Fig. My girlfriend happened to find these at HOME DEPOT and sent me a picture to let me know that these were under $20!!

I feel like I have unlocked another hipster level in my game by owning one of these. I got some great advice on caring for this plant. Please pray for it while I’m on vacation. I am hoping to keep this plant alive for a long time. Not sure what the fuss is all about with the Fiddle Leaf Figs? You might enjoy this piece on how this plant became this year’s “it” plant!

I wish I could chat with you more, but I have some packing to do! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and thank you again for all the birthday love! It has been one for the books!

xoxo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

7 Things I’ve Learned That Save Us Serious Money

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Amy Clark

Hey, hey! Today is my big 4-0 and I keep wondering how I got to this milestone so quickly. In many ways, I wonder when I will feel like an adult. In other ways, I can see how much better I feel in my own skin and the wisdom that has been gained, especially in this last decade of years.

Before I launch into my list, I’d love to share that I am doing a birthday fundraiser on Facebook. I’m asking for donations to Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation. The diagnosis of myself and my children has made the research from this organization an important one for us. I am donating this occasion in hopes that more funding can help provide those needed answers we are in search of.

If you have a buck or two to spare, I’d be thrilled to share this with the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation

In honor of this day, I wanted to share 7 things that I’ve learned that save us some serious money. As we continue to embrace our simplified path, I can see how being open to learning new skills and continuing to research new strategies has really paid off for us. As I get older, I find more and more joy in the life we have chosen and I’d love to share some of my favorite strategies today. 

birthday reflections

7 Things I’ve Learned That Save Us Serious Money

Restaurant-Style-Steak-Recipe-3

I Nailed a Restaurant-Worthy Steak

Steak dinners and fancy date nights were hard on our budget and learning to master making a perfectly restaurant-worthy steak has saved our family oodles of money. I’m not pro enough that I can touch it and distinguish its degree of doneness, but I do know how to work my digital meat thermometer like a boss and that’s almost the same thing. Our cast iron skillet (another frugal and wise investment) really sears our steaks so beautifully and the butter finish is a decadent treat.

Instead of paying over a hundred dollars for a filet dinner out, my hubby and I take trips to the supermarket and purchase a couple of steaks and a bottle of wine for less than the price of one meal at a restaurant. This recipe has been a go-to for our dates and for special occasions when we are celebrating our kids. It takes about ten minutes to pull this off (with a little roasted asparagus on the side) and everyone gets so excited about this meal.

My secret?

Loads of Kosher Salt, baby, and a screaming hot pan.

Let me know if you can give this technique a spin in your kitchen!

flipster

I Gave Up My Magazine Subscriptions

Magazines have been a weakness of mine and discovering our library has the Flipster app has made me SO incredibly happy this year. Basically, you can get a digital subscription to just about every magazine, check them out digitally, and read your magazines on your tablet or phone.

The best part has been being able to take screenshots of recipes and ideas for myself and as inspiration for our site as I page through them (soooo handy!!)

So far the only catch has been the length of time that you are allowed to check them out (it varies per magazine), but usually I can plow through one in a day and it costs ZERO bucks.

brunch

I Brunch Like a Boss…At Home

Brunch used to be a big weakness for me, but we rarely go out to brunch anymore now that I finally have a few smart brunch recipes up my sleeve.

I call this year the year of the egg because mastering a few techniques was on my cooking bucket list. The omelette, for example, was something that I just couldn’t get the hang of. It usually ended up into messy scrambled eggs over here.

brunch

Not anymore though.

Here’s a little picture proof because I know you don’t believe me!

I watched a YouTube video tutorial, found the perfect skillet for the job, and discovered how awesome coconut oil is for creating a nonstick surface for my omelette making. This has become a go-to for busy nights when I don’t feel like making dinner and is the new tried-and-true for a satisfying weekend brunch at home. It’s also a fantastic way to use up the odds and ends in your refrigerator.

If we aren’t in the mood for an omelette, this Chicken Pesto Frittata, Sausage & Vegetable Frittata, Gluten-Free Overnight Waffles, or these Light & Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes (I just sub with this flour now to make them gluten-free) are all in our brunch rotation.  Don’t forget this diy drink mix recipe for a delicious drink (with or without alcohol!)

Movie Pass

I Go to the Movies All the Time For Cheap-As-Heck

I’m wondering how long this offer will last, but this girl got on the Movie Pass train really early and it has been a highlight of the year. A membership is $9.95 a month and you can see a movie EVERY SINGLE DAY of the month at a REAL theater (should you so choose!) by only paying the membership fee.

If you haven’t heard of it, I’ll try to explain it as briefly as I can. You sign up, they mail a card that looks like a debit card (can take awhile, fyi!), you download the app, head to your theater to check-in on the app, and it says something like, “enjoy the show!” When you head to the counter, you just use the pass instead of your debit card and that’s it.

Obviously, the big catch is being at the theater to check-in and the availability of seats. I aim for the weird times (like 1 PM in the afternoon) and don’t see the movies as soon as they come out. You also can’t see 3D flicks, but that’s NBD because I’m not into action films.

My goal this year is to start feeling brave enough to go to movies ALONE since my work schedule is so quirky.

It is accepted all the theaters near me and I bribed my sister and neighbor to get a pass too so we could have movie dates together for cheap-as-heck.

Capsule Wardrobe

Honey, I Really Did Shrink My Wardrobe

If you would have told me five years ago that I would embrace a minimalist wardrobe, I would have laughed until I cried. Seriously, I was a dedicated fashionista that loved a good deal. What I’ve learned though is that shrinking my wardrobe has brought me a lot of peace and calmness to my mornings. It feels so good to have everything working together and to look in my closet and have it make absolute sense.

Was this hard? Absolutely!

Was it worth it? Absolutely!

One of my biggest inspirations is this lady and her beautiful book just might be the ticket for you to whittle down your wardrobe (and a few other things!) in your life this year.

I have been documenting my journey on the blog and you can see where I started and where I’m at now over here.

My one smart investment has been Rent the Runway for special occasions. This girl isn’t into one-trick-ponies anymore so I enjoyed their Unlimited services for the holidays and it was a blast, without taking up a lot of closet space as a commitment.

blue-apron

I Learned to Cook New Things For My People

If you think bloggers don’t get into meal plan ruts, you are quite mistaken. I think burnout happens a lot with this job and we often ended up repeating the same meals over and over again so we don’t have to invent one more thing for the day. I got a subscription for the summer to Blue Apron and it has widened my perspective on so many things and brought me a ton of joy.

How does spending money on a meal subscription service pay off, right? I know! I didn’t think it was a good use of money either.

I *may* have made fun of people who did these.

The thing is,  it REALLY broadened my perspective on fruits and vegetables we had been neglecting at the grocery store and taught me some valuable cooking techniques that I would have NEVER tried or figured out on my own.

Blue Apron

The night that my kids and hubby were raving about eggplant about knocked me out of my chair. I was like, “WE ARE DOING THIS FOREVER.”

The biggest lesson I learned is how invaluable high heat is for roasting our veggies. I am now cranking my stove up to 450 degrees to roast everything and it has made everything taste like it is roasted and not steamed.

We have taken a break until next summer on this subscription so that I have the time and slowed down day that I need to get my most enjoyment out of this, but I enjoyed almost every minute of it.

Tackling the challenge that I’m showing you, in the picture above, nearly did me in while they were doing the Master Chef challenges promo for their customers to try at home. This TEAM challenge was pulled off by ONE sweaty mom, but was declared the best meal of the bunch.

I’m not sure if that was true or everyone felt sorry for me after I tackled a TEAM challenge SOLO. I did that challenge though, LIKE A BOSS.

By the way, if you use this link, it should give you $30 off your first box and you can pick all the quick meals so you don’t look crazy like me.

It is almost like it’s your birthday too, amiright?

family

I had coffee with a friend and she shared such a valuable piece of wisdom with me that I wanted to share it with YOU too, as I wrap up my birthday post today. She said that 40 is where you are easing into the second half of your life and you realize who and what is important as you move into this second phase of your life. Who wants to spend the second half of their life keeping up with the Joneses, investing time into shallow relationships, making small talk, and living a life of overcommitment?

Nope, not this girl.

I want all the good stuff- the deep and the meaningful stuff. I want to savor these moments with my kids. I want to be present in this lucky partnership I have with my hubby. I want my friendships to be real and not flighty. I want to continue to give myself grace that life has looked differently, in many sobering ways, but I still have the ability to transform lives by sharing our story. I want to allow people in to see the cracks and brokenness, both online and offline. I want to work on my commitment to believe in God’s plan and timing… even though it looks nothing like the timeline I’ve drawn up.

My word this year is MINDFUL- mindful of my time, mindful of my words, mindful in my role as a mom and wife, mindful of where I invest my time (in my personal life AND business), mindful of our money, and mindfully being my authentic self.

I hope you’ll stick around because having you here has given me purpose in my steps MANY, MANY days!

Can you celebrate with me and share what’s one way you have learned to save your family money or a fun tip that has changed a routine? It would be a fantastic present today!

This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo 

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: It’s Marvelous, A Great Read, & Documentary Love

Friday, December 8th, 2017

thanksgiving-2017-4

It’s been such a long time since I have had a happy list so I wanted to swing back in and say hello.

The Thanksgiving weekend nearly did me in this year. I hosted a Thanksgiving feast for my siblings (thank goodness for those make-ahead recipes), had Thanksgiving with my family, ended up in urgent care with a kidney infection the day after, thought I was dying, then took my practically dead self to the Nutcracker to see our little soldier perform.

Luckily, I had a few days to recuperate before hitting the road with girlfriends for a girl’s trip to Omaha.

Minus the nearly dying part, it really was a great Thanksgiving!

We opted to go smaller this year with decorating. Last year the feature in Design Mom was a big motivator to really deck the halls. This year, we purchased a smaller artificial tree (I’m madly in love with this one because of its deep branches for ornament hanging) and only got one bin of our holiday goodies out.

That frees up so much more time to lay around in our pajamas and watch holiday movies. We made it through this one and this one already! I’d love to hear what your favorites are.

Here are three other things that are making me happy!

the-marvelous-mrs-maisel

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

I can’t say I have enjoyed a show as much as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in years.

The lead actress, Rachel Brosnahan, truly makes Mrs. Maisel come to life. She is a rich 1950’s housewife who feels like she has lost everything when she finds out her husband has been having an affair. She has supported him through his painfully awful stand-up comedian routines, at a local club, and now feels like a laughingstock herself. It leads to her drunkenly showing up in the club and wandering up on stage where she has the audience rolling. This is the start of a new life for her and we get to witness this woman coming into her own, while still flashbacking to the memories of their earlier courtship and marriage.

The way this show is shot is pretty phenomenal in itself. They manage to shoot long sequences in such unique ways that appear to be in one take. The vignettes that they can create, moving the story through the years, are jaw-dropping. The costumes and sets are absolute perfection. The plot moves quickly and is meaty!

We are plowing through the second half of the season this weekend. It has taken a lot of self-control this week to not stay up late and finish it. I think you would love this one too!

Manhattan Beach Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach has been on almost every top book of 2017 list ever created and now I see why. If you are looking for a compelling historical fiction read, I would highly recommend this one.

This is the first historical fiction novel from Egan, but reads almost like a thriller as you piece together the disappearance of a father. Anna Kerrigan, on the cusp of twelve years old, accompanies her father for a visit to see Dexter Styles. It is a mysterious relationship and visit that she is encouraged not to share with her family.

Later her father disappears and Anna finds herself working for the Brooklyn Naval Yard. She becomes their first female diver and is breaking the mold of what roles women have in assisting in the war. One evening she finds herself at a nightclub where she sees Dexter Styles again and begins to wonder if he might be the key to understanding her father’s disappearance.

If you enjoyed Saints for All Occasions, I think you would enjoy this one too. It surprised me as much as Sullivan’s book as Egan weaves together this compelling plot so vividly that you will have trouble putting it down.

Curious George Documentary

 

Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators

The most surprising and moving documentary we watched this month was Monkey Business about the creators of the Curious George series. The entire film is incredibly animated and tells a compelling story of the writers that moved me to tears. I don’t want to spoil the story for you or your family, but there was far more than meets the eye when it comes to the creation of Curious George and includes an unbelievable adventure as the couple were evacuated from Paris (with the invasion of the Nazis) and they rode bicycles with his story tucked in their bicycle basket.

This is one you could watch with the kids and the animation is absolutely ASTOUNDING. Animated from start to finish, it is so beautifully done and tells such a different story than I had ever expected. It is a timely story as it explores their struggles as immigrants. In fact, Curious George himself could be called an immigrant too.

Watch it- you won’t regret it!!

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken

 Eating: I just made another batch of this Orange Chicken last night to share while we watched another holiday movie. We ALL were in heaven with this make-at-home takeout dish. I paired it with my favorite brown rice method. So happy I have leftovers today!

rent the runway

Glamming It Up: I treated myself to an unlimited pass to Rent the Runway for the holidays and my birthday month (it is my big 4-0!!!) and I am having so much fun playing dress-up for the holidays. I can’t recommend this fun option enough for the season of family photos, holiday parties, and unlimited friend gatherings. A month cost me about what I would have spent on a cocktail dress for my hubby’s work party so I feel good about this investment. Plus, it doesn’t conflict with my capsule wardrobe intentions!

Contemplating: This article this week. I plan to dive deep into this one in the upcoming weeks. I think it is an important discussion and a common misconception on what self-care really means.

Giving: Book of the Month gift cards for the holidays. I’m actually not a member so I am excited that you receive a free book credit if you are the giver. I am hoarding my credit for the January selections. Did you see what I read last month? Good stuff!

Back to This: I just know you all love my frequent posts on my OCD with hair removal so I’m back to using this again after a break. Can’t believe that price and an additional $10 off this week. Painful, but effective! I’m finding pairing that with a dry brush (this is the one I use for about $4) before using it seems to help with ingrown hairs. Haven’t heard of dry brushing? This article explains the benefits.

Have a wonderful weekend! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: Better Than a Pedicure, Happy Light, & Artsy Podcast Love

Friday, November 10th, 2017

thank you instead of i'm sorry follow me on instagram

Facebook can be such a beautiful thing for reconnecting with people in your life. One of my sweet friends, dealing with her own health difficulties, posted something that I just keep turning over and over in my mind.

She said:

“I have been cocooning…

An awkward, isolating, and many times, unpretty chapter in our evolution.

However, you know what happens when it’s over….

I will have wings to fly!

And to soar, as my Creator would have me do…

I must wait patiently while my wings are fashioned and matured enough to break free from my shell, and to carry me beyond heights I have not even begun to imagine.

But, these things take time.”

I have been in a place of cocooning this month, a time of unpredictability and a longing for a prettier chapter. The spiraling can feel fast and furious, as can the frustration with the new normal.

This is what I will say that I have learned though.

I am stronger than I think I am.

I have the right and perfect support system in the wings anytime I need them.

I will no longer apologize for the mess I am.

I will, instead, say thanks for loving me and caring about me unconditionally!

Thank you, Marsha, for the Facebook status that reminds me of the beauty that comes after the waiting.

Here are 3 other things that are making me happy this week:

verilux happy light

Happy Light for the Winter Blues

Seasonal depression is no joke and the Midwest winters can be brutal on a girl’s happiness levels. I bought a tabletop happy light that is supposed to help remedy the winter blues, give you more energy, and regulate those sleep cycles.  I read a lot of articles about it (I found this one to be really straightforward on tips) and it is recommended that the light should be 10,000 lux. When browsing, you will find ones in a cheaper price bracket, but they aren’t offering the 10,000 lux that are recommended for effective treatment so I went for the big guns.

I use this for an hour in the morning with a good book and a tall cup of coffee. It is super important to be consistent and so I aim for around the same time and duration each day. I love that this is so small that it could be taken on trips, when we travel, and doesn’t take up a lot of storage in our home.

If you struggle with the seasonal blues or regulating those sleep cycles, this is a great low-risk drug-free investment to try!

let's spa gel lined booties

Better Than a Pedicure Food Treatment

Do your feet get dry in the winter?

Should we even be talking about this?

Anyone else with a foot phobia? (*cringe*)

I hate how dry my feet get so when I ran across these gel socks, I thought they might be worth a try. YOU GUYS! These socks are AH-MAZING!! I can’t believe how much they have helped my tired feet. They are geared towards treating and hydrating callused feet and contain a gel lining with Jojoba Oils & Vitamin E.

The best part? They last SIX MONTHS.

You can wear them for thirty minutes or overnight. They require no messy lotions and have been way more moisturizing than any pedicure treatment or lotion I have ever bought.

I feel like I am giving myself a pedicure just walking around my house in my pajamas. In the words of Ina, “How bad could that be?”

They also cost less than one pedicure so I consider these a wise winter investment. I hope you love them as much as me!

a piece of work podcast A Piece of Work Podcast

As raunchy as it is, no show has made us laugh more than Broad City. I have become a HUGE fan of the stars and was so excited to see that Abbi Jacobson  (a star & show writer) was partnering with MoMA on a podcast called, A Piece of Work.

The premise of the show is tapping into experts, curators, and some of her personal friends (like Questlove!) to ask all the things you have ever wanted to know about art. Abbi was an art major (I had no idea!) and she dives deep into the stories behind modern and contemporary pieces of art. The podcast is insightful and has a behind-the-scenes feel as Abbi gets to explore the inner workings of MoMA.

This is such an incredibly smart podcast that you will want to binge on in one sitting!

PS- language, so not one of the kiddos!

Reading: I started this book and am loving it. Ironically, I found out that the author is a neighbor of an old friend of mine! #smallworld! I would recommend this one for Picoult or Chamberlain fans. The price is nice too at just $4.99.

Playing: We had friends for another game night last weekend. This board game is becoming quite the hit with our visitors. I can’t wait to play it again!

Contemplating: I thought I would share this article with you. It gave me a lot to think about!

iphone i glitch funny

LOL’ed: Tired of talking like Cookie Monster? Get it together, iPhone!

Also, LOL’ed through Bad Moms 2. I didn’t think it was as good as the first one, but it was just what I needed after a stressful week!

If you are into being obsessively punctual- you’ll love this piece. Dim the lights and cue the mood music!

This update made me LOL- can’t wait to show my kids! Enjoy shopping for supplies for your new hipster job offerings.

Got Loads of Compliments:  On this. I’m pretty sure it is the best thing in my fall capsule and makes even jeans and a tee look polished.

Have a wonderful weekend! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

It’s the 3 Little Things: Transformation Month

Friday, September 29th, 2017

wedding

It is always a good week when I get to go out dancing with this guy and a family occasion was the perfect excuse to break out this dress I had been saving. Thank you, thredUP, for a dress I’d never be able to justify if purchased retail.

Do you ever look at routines that you have been doing and realize that they aren’t bringing you joy? One of the biggest lessons, learned from a year of counseling, was looking at these routines and asking myself if they made me happy anymore. I tend to go on autopilot and do things because I think they make OTHER PEOPLE happy or I do them because I am a MARTYR (no, no, you guys have fun- I’ll do the dishes after making this meal for you- it’s MY PLEASURE!) or I do them because I like to have TERRIBLE SLEEP (grabs the wine and starts the social media scrolling).

I can give you loads of terrible ways that I had been spending my time and robbing myself of joy, but a few things really stood out to me as things that really are robbing me of something- self-worth, precious time, my mental health, my physical health, etc…

This year is about living with more intention. I can be disciplined with my spending habits, why can’t I treat my own self with the same discipline?

This month’s intention was to get off social media by 6PM and change my martyr routine in the evenings. Instead of scrolling and being bitter about dishes, we abandoned the dishes and took a walk around our neighborhood.  After returning, we throw on a good podcast and do the dishes together. It has been such a better way to end the day!

What’s one routine you would like to change in your life? Feel free to comment below!

Here are 3 other things that are making me happy-

21 Day Transformation

21 Day Transformation

My friend, Tammy, owns a barre studio in town (B Present)  and asked if I would be interested in giving her 21 Day Transformation program a try. She knew that I had been battling some health issues and wondered if this program might be beneficial for my body.

I will be honest, I am VERY leary of programs like this because they tend to be focused on product and not on real food. I went to school for Food & Nutrition so I know how important eating well is and not relying on pills or shakes to achieve goals.

Lucky for me, this program was EXACTLY the type of program that I would recommend because it centers around clean eating. Not only do they give you a meal plan and grocery list, you also receive a guide to Dining Out and a Grocery Guide that helps navigate the store and pick the cleanest ingredients for your recipes.

ZERO product pushing.

The best part about the program is the accountability group you have with the other participants. Everyone shares pictures of their dishes and you have access to Gina Schade, a coach that can help you through the process.

Barre on Demand is also offered with the program to take online classes to keep your body moving throughout the program.

self love

My goal was not weight loss so I didn’t take measurements and such. My goal was to see if better habits might help my body feel better.

My biggest takeaway from this program is that I don’t nourish myself enough, the importance of movement every single day, and learning to hydrate myself.  I didn’t eat breakfast, ate a terrible or nonexistent lunch, never snacked, and then would eat all evening long because I had starved my body all day.

Oh, and I never drank water.

And when I say I NEVER drank water, I filled out a medical form that asked me how many glasses of water I drink daily and my response was…MEH.

With the recipes provided, I figured out great ideas for meals and snacks that are better for my body. I started eating regularly instead of my starvation routine, and I even enjoyed drinking water.

There is so much good that came out of this. I am hopeful it has changed my habits for a long time. If not, I’ll hop back in and get transformed again!

Twice I have had people come up to me this month and say…You look so much healthier or commented on how I have my glow back again. I really think it has a lot to do with this month’s program and how much better I am working on treating this body.

They are opening the program up again on Monday! Read more about it here or check out this video!

Yoga With Adriene

Yoga With Adriene

It is hard to juggle working out and working. I love going to the gym, but it has the tendency to eat up half a work day. I read about this YouTube channel, Yoga With Adriene, where you can do free full-length yoga classes from home.

Did someone say FREE?

Yoga with Adriene

The classes cater to all levels and even specific issues you might be struggling with. The variety is really incredible and Adriene is a gifted teacher that offers lots of great modifications. The classes are as challenging as you need them to be or can just focus on the basic fundamentals of yoga poses and beginner routines.

I love that the classes also have no music so I can play my own mixes on Spotify while doing the classes.

Between this and CycleCast, I feel really good about my home routines for busy days.

Five Foot Two Documentary

Five Foot Two Documentary

Lady Gaga is one of the most intriguing people to me because she is someone with a lot of layers and depth. Her Super Bowl halftime show was one of the best I have ever seen. She has the ability to surprise you in ways that you least expect it, as a performer, and wanted to share a different side of herself in the Netflix documentary, Five Foot Two.

The reason I wanted to see this though is that she has come forward about her battle with chronic pain. Few people would ever know that this bigger-than-life person is battling excruciating pain every single day. In a rare, raw, and real way, she pulls back the current on what it is like to live with chronic pain.

The documentary is at the height of a very difficult season with a brand new album and the preparations for the Super Bowl happening at the same time. You see the stress and strain of the schedule on her body.

I can’t say that the issue covered made me happy, in fact, I burst into tears while we were watching it. Perhaps, this one hit a little too close to home. I will say what makes me happy is that she is showing you what it is really like to live like this, even in a larger than life world. I hope this opens people up to talk more about these struggles and that it brings empathy to those that suffer.

Catch this one on Netflix!

Outfits This Week (follow it all on my IG Capsule Account)

fall-2017-capsule-wardrobe-outfit-3

fall-2017-capsule-wardrobe-outfit-2

fall-2017-capsule-wardrobe-outfit-1

shop this week’s looks or visit my entire capsule wardrobe

Reading: I’m really enjoy this book this week. I love that it started out with the mother’s perspectives and the author definitely gives a fresh spin on a tired topic.

Playing: We are looking forward to hosting a family for a game night. This game is always an excellent ice-breaker and perfect for people with short attention spans (raises hand!).

Contemplating: This article and thankful someone has finally figured out what the heck it is to call a woman’s additional work. I hate emotional labor. I can’t wait to talk about this with my husband.

Can’t Wait: I have a movie date today and we are off to see this. Have you seen it? NO SPOILERS, but tell me if it is good!

Bought: This and I’m SO EXCITED!! I’ll let you know my thoughts once I use it!

Laughing: LANGUAGE, yo! This had me in stitches today.

Have a wonderful weekend! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: One Handed Blow Drying, Great Docs, & Lipstick That Doesn’t Quit

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Conair Blow Dryer Brush

Did you feel like I disappeared on you? I’ve missed chatting over here these past couple of weeks. Last Friday I spent my day having emergency dental work done, thanks to a dislocated jaw. That was a painful way to spend a weekend, but I just got a night guard and we are hoping that we can settle things down with resting my jaw in the evenings.

Last night I used it for the first time and woke up with relaxed muscles in my face and no ear pain.

I think it is going to help a lot.

That said, I’ve had so much good stuff in my life lately that it cancels out the more difficult times. I begrudgingly (feet dragging all the way) decided to go to a women’s Bible study because I know that I haven’t been in a great place in my spiritual life. For awhile, we just quit going because I was so run down all the time, but now I feel like a pew filler and not much more.

My body is there filling the pew and my heart is there because it is good for my children.

That’s about it.

An encouraging message from a group leader though lead me to a study and I’m feeling a lot more centered.

It’s a raw, gritty, look at your mess kind of study.

Real talk.

No fluff and fakery.

I’m crying a lot of tears and acknowledging my mess.

That’s just what I needed- to look at my life through a different lens.

Religion has always been a part of my life so it is comforting to have the routine and support in this challenging chapter. Instead of leaning in, I was pushing away in anger. I think this has been the secret ingredient that has been missing in my life.

I started praying again and I asked for things that I need to happen in my life right now and God has surprised me by bringing in what I’m requesting.

busy The best part has been being OKAY with the slowing down part now that my mind can be quieter. I have turned down my engagement on social media and have been trying to fill my cup in different ways.

This book was a great guide for me on understanding what I really need in life to keep a good balance and feel centered. If you are a highly sensitive person or an empath, I can’t recommend it enough.

The things that are good for me- getting up early to read quietly before the kids wake up, long baths, walks or taking in nature on our patio, enjoying the process of cooking again, exercising, real time with my people, and quiet.

I’ve also discovered the beauty in FaceTime and now have a weekly date with my best friend to talk to each other. We both remarked we can’t believe we hadn’t done that before!  There is something about seeing people face-to-face that makes these calls much more satisfying.

Here are three other things that are making me happy!

Documentaries

Obit. Documentary

We caught two surprisingly feel good documentaries this past week!

Obit is an inside look at the New York Times obituaries desk.

Doesn’t that sound so depressing?

It really wasn’t!

It was absolutely fascinating to hear how they gather the facts and photos for these obituaries. These writers work on tight deadlines to be sure to secure accurate facts about the obituaries they share and take a lot of joy in writing about their lives. In one comment by a columnist they said,  “Obituaries have next to nothing to do with death, and everything with life.”

You can catch this one on Amazon Prime, if you have it!

Starring Adam West

Starring Adam West was an absolutely fantastic documentary about his role and life as the first Batman. Even if you aren’t a Batman fan, there is so much to be learned from his career and life, told with surprising humor and heart. My face hurt after watching this one because I was smiling so much throughout the entire film. Adam West is absolutely hilarious! His daughter’s quest to get a star on Hollywood Boulevard really brought ALL THE FEELINGS.

You can catch this one on Hulu, if you have it, or you can rent it on Amazon.

Conair Infiniti Blow Dryer Brush

Professional Blow Out at Home

I have been using my hair straightner daily for years and I am starting to see the damage that is starting to come from that. I picked up one of these Conair Infiniti Spin Air Rotating Stylers and I absolutely love it. I had one of these forever ago and I burnt it out, but I had not though how much this would help with my hands and elbows to have a brush and dryer that can rotate with a push of a button.

This version comes with two different sizes for tighter or a looser curl. There is definitely a learning curve with these, but once you get the hang of it, it is so much easier than the brush & dryer holding that I was doing before.

I should say that this doesn’t replace your blow dryer, it is more a styling tool. You get your hair 80-90% dry (air drying or with your blow dryer) and you finish with this gadget to get that professional blow out look.

The spinner rotates two ways so you can flip hair up and away or curl it under.

Conair Infiniti Spin Brush

I have coarse and really frizzy hair which is why I straighten it. This is what it looks like using this awesome tool and zero product.

The best part is the next day, you can wake up, put on a little dry shampoo (here is my favorite) and give it a little fluff with this tool. TA-DA!

Lipstick That Lasts

I know I have blabbed about this A LOT, but this matte lipstick has unbelievable staying power and I couldn’t be happier about that price. I’m also wearing it in this picture and it will look just like that until bedtime.

No joke!

I keep grabbing more of these when I see them at the drugstore because every color I’ve picked up has been so gorgeous. I’m wearing Lover in that picture.

Reading: I’m halfway through this book and absolutely loving it. Did you hear that they are making this one into a film? Can’t wait!

Inspired By: Things someone who loved you should have told you. I hope you read these words if you need to hear them.

Playing: This board game with my kids and they LOVED it!

Discovered: This fascinating piece today. I’m looking forward to the documentary!

Can’t Wait: Oh, this should be GOOD!

Eating: No way heat wave, I’m in full on FALL MODE. Bowls of this were enjoyed this week at our kitchen table.

Listening: To this audiobook right now. I’m not too sure about this one yet…

Have a wonderful weekend! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: Nailing Grocery Day, Escaping to the 1980’s, & Glowing

Friday, August 25th, 2017

Life is Better in Pajamas

How the heck are you?  This was our first full week of school and activities and I’m completely exhausted. Twice I have fallen asleep in the middle of the day and almost every night my head is hitting the pillow around 8PM. I’m thankful for this advice today and planning to do just that this weekend.

I am trying to remind myself that this has nothing to do with my health because ANY MOTHER would DIE if she had to get up at 5 in the morning to get her kids on the bus. That said, my body isn’t loving the new changes and I’m thankful to have my Quell to kick in (you can read more about that here).

I did get to take a little outing to see this movie with my Dad. You guys!  It was absolutely horrifying and I even jumped a couple of times. If you love a scary flick, I’d highly recommend it. They also showed a preview for this one and this one… Yup, they are both on my scary movie agenda!

Here are 3 other things that are making me happy-

Walmart Grocery Pickup Review

FREE Grocery Pickup (Here is $10 to shop!!)

This is #notsponsored, I’m just beyond excited that our Walmart has FREE grocery pickup at our local store. I have been jealously watching everyone’s shares about their online Walmart grocery ordering and could not wait until our store offered it. Last week I placed my first order and it was a better experience than I expected.

First, you can use this link to get $10 off your order (that also credits me $10 to my groceries so we both win!!).  Set up an account and then go to RESERVE first to snag a slot time. This holds it long enough for you to add everything to your cart and checkout. They also give you a one hour slot for checking in,  so there is no need to be there right on the dot.

The Walmart Grocery app, for your phone or iPad, is where you can place and track your order. It is super easy and quick to browse and get your groceries. I also love that you can just add everything from your old orders right back in again so you don’t have to do it every single time.

Once you decide you want to pick up your groceries, you let them know you are on your way and they get ready to meet you at your car.  There is clear signage and parking spots for you to park in on the side of the store, away from the hustle and bustle in the front. There is also no need to check in again once you have done that on the app, you just wait for the magic to happen. They come right out (my guy was there in three minutes flat!) and load everything in your car for you.

The entire process took about five minutes! Hallelujah!

When you get home, be sure to use the Walmart app (NOT the grocery app) and scan your receipt in their Savings Catcher program.  Basically, Walmart wants to give you the lowest prices so if someone’s price dips below theirs, they put it in an account for you and you can cash it out on a gift card to buy more groceries. #winning

The best part was that everything they picked was THE BEST. Since I do a lot of shopping for client projects, I was thrilled with perfect berries and the beautiful produce for my photos for my clients. This is a HUGE timesaver for me so I’m REALLY thankful!

GLOW on Netflix

GLOW is AH-MAZING

I’m sad to say that we finished the last episode of GLOW this week, but so happy to hear it was renewed for another season. Yay!

Nothing about this show sounds like it would appeal to me, but I can’t get over how incredible the writing was and the great casting choices they made for the series. I was completely sucked in from the very first episode and we had a hard time pacing this one out to enjoy it longer.

This show is set in the 1980’s and centers around the women’s professional wrestling circuit that was originally created by David McLane. This comedy-drama explores how these unlikely women end up coming together to carve out their own characters for the wrestling team while overcoming their own obstacles in the process. The characters are each so unique and fun- it is just incredibly casted!

If you enjoyed the earlier seasons of Orange is the New Black, I have a feeling that you will absolutely love this one.  It is completely binge-worthy and a great weekend escape!

Almay Instant Glow Highlighting Duo

Speaking of Glow…

Looking to add a highlighter to your makeup routine? I picked up this Almay Instant Glow Highlighting Duo and it adds a beautiful little shimmer to your complexion. Supposedly, this is one of those celebrity makeup artists secret to keeping everyone dewy and fresh looking.

I am more like a dewy faced mess in her yoga pants with unwashed hair, but hopefully everyone is distracted by my GLOWING face.

Is it working?

Almay  Instant Glow Highlighting Duo

If you haven’t used a highlighter before, they offer some easy instructions on the back of the packaging or you can see what to do right here on this picture. One side adds a little shimmer to your eyes, forehead, and the center of your chin (it is the consistency of a concealer). The other side is swiped like blush and then over the nose to add a little shimmer to those areas (this is more the consistency of a blush stick). It is so easy to use and gives you a natural looking glow to your face.

I love finding new things to add to my tired beauty routines, don’t you?  Between that and my favorite dry shampoo, who needs anything else?

Banksy Quote

 

Reading: Just wrapping up this book and it is giving me a new perspective on things.

Inspired By: This woman and her daily routines. She does her own email? WHY CAN’T I?

Television Binge Plan: Here are the shows on NPR’s radar…and now they are on mine!

Discovered: A new favorite red lipstick. I think this one would be pretty universally flattering too.

Can’t Wait: Did you hear this? LOVE her!

Bought: This sweater blazer in camel for my fall wardrobe. I’m all about a comfy blazer for layering. Also more stripes because STRIPES.

Eating: I made this for our breakfasts this week and it was a hit!

Inspired By: Great parenting advice on teaching our kids about gratitude.

Listening: To this podcast on our trip home last weekend. If you are a Stephen King fan, I think you will love it.

Have a wonderful weekend! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: Business Advice, Fresh Planner, & A Great Read

Friday, August 11th, 2017

vacation

Taking time off and stepping away from the grind of work this summer has given me time to reflect on how I have been running my business.

Blogging doesn’t always look like business, does it?

Actually, if I’m honest, I have no idea what it looks like to you.

This is my life’s work though and lately I have been reflecting on my business mistakes that have occurred these last few years.

At one point in my career, I got in over my head with my job and refused to allow anyone to help me because I didn’t think they could do the job as good as me (even though I was doing a terrible job). My email inbox was in the 50K region of UNOPENED messages, I wasn’t posting consistently, I had lost a sense of community, and I was doing a terrible job diversifying my income streams.

A magical assistant (here she is– she’s amazing!) swooped in and made all these issues disappear. My inbox was clutter-free, she helped me to get back to consistency, it freed up time to carve out community, she got my newsletter going again, and she encouraged me to find new avenues for income streams.

And then she needed to move on to a new chapter in her own life.

Yup, I lost this incredible person who was doing all the things for me and I was back to my old habits.

Here is what I am discovering though:

The mistake wasn’t in handing everything off to someone to help me manage my time better.

My mistake?

I didn’t know how to do many of these tasks for myself.

I didn’t know how to send out a newsletter, I didn’t understand the changes and new strategies I needed to implement to keep up with my social media platforms, I had no ideas on how to continue cultivating my work here. Basically, I have felt a little lost at sea and I worried about the time and effort it would require to get back in the game.

I’ve decided this new school year is a new school year for me too. I started taking online courses to help manage different aspects of my business this week

Would it still be good to hand things off?

Absolutely!

Will I know how to do these tasks though and train the next person who takes the reigns moving forward?

Yes, yes I will.

This week, I’m thankful for a new mindset for my business.

This is the year of not working harder, but working smarter.

I’d love to talk about what goals you have for yourself as your children return to school! What do you hope to achieve this year?

Here are 3 things that are making me happy this week!

The Defiant Ones

The Defiant Ones

HBO has sucked us in with another incredible series. The Defiant Ones is an incredible 4-part documentary that explores the careers of Dr. Dre & Jimmy Iovine and their remarkable business relationship that ended up landing them a 3 billion dollar deal with Apple.

What I loved about their story is that they were two very unlikely business moguls that didn’t have the background or education to have had such successful careers. Iovine, for example, was known for flaking out on jobs and seems to be lacking the ability to follow through on tasks. Dre couldn’t even get the time of day with a local club owner to deejay in the evenings. What they didn’t end up lacking was a passion for music that, ultimately, ended up bringing the two together on some incredible deals.

This isn’t a feel-good story, this is gritty and honest story about the business mistakes they made and how they almost lost it all. It’s incredibly inspirational though to see that if you play your cards right, even the most unlikely people can become the most successful.

I really think you’d love this one- give it a watch!

Get to Work Book

A Fresh New Planner

I’m so excited to have a fresh new planner for the year! I can’t think of anything more motivating than a new start to getting back on schedule.  I asked what planners people were loving in our MomAdvice Book Club Chat Group and was reminded just how much I wanted a Get to Work Book last year, but never got around to purchasing it.

I’m not saying that this year though because I finally have one. I love that this allows space for goal setting and intentions (both for personal and professional). Each month has a great tear-out motivational print as a fun bonus. The pages are spacious and have thoughtful prompts to help you dream big. I can’t wait to get planning in this.

Also, if aren’t following Elise on Instagram, it’s quite the treat! She’s been a big source of creative inspiration for me.

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

A Great Read

It’s been a busy week, as we start preparing for the new school year, but I managed to squeeze in a great book this week. Ginny Moon was such an enjoyable read from debut novelist, Benjamin Ludwig. Ludwig shares in his bio that he is the foster parent of a teen with autism and it is through his own experience (and fellow parents of autistic children) that helped him carve his character, Ginny Moon.

Ginny Moon had been taken from her neglectful mother and has been living with her new Forever Mother and Forever Father. When her birth mother starts creeping back into her life, Ginny will stop at nothing to get back to her mom and goes to shocking lengths to make that happen. When a new baby then is added to her Forever Family, Ginny becomes increasingly more of a burden to her strained foster parents and they must decide if this is the forever family THEY want. Ginny will stop at nothing though to get back to where she believes she really belongs and there is a pretty surprising reason why. It’s a real page-turner!

Ludwig really sheds light on the difficulties of finding adoptive families for teens of special needs and your heart just breaks for Ginny over the confusion of who her real “forever family,” is.

I won’t blab too much more about it, but I have a feeling you will really enjoy this one!

That’s what is making me happy this week- what’s been making your week?

This week I am…

women rise

Reading: I started this book and I am LOVING it!

Prepping: It’s time to prep the capsule wardrobe for fall. I ordered one of these skirts and I can’t wait to put it to work. I also have a box of goodies coming in from this shop– woohoo! Here’s ten bucks towards your first order, if you haven’t tried it before.

Netflix Binge Plan: Have you watched this yet? I can’t wait to dig in!

Can’t Wait: For this movie (!!!)

Inspired By: This list of intentions, especially the two hour phone break!

Throwing it Back:  Which one are you? Totally, Claudia! I’m all about that unicorn life, are you?

Listening: To this podcast over the weekend. They always have the best book recommendations.

Have a wonderful weekend! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!